Click here to check out this week's Labor History Today podcast, which includes Bill Fletcher on the Colored National Labor Union.
African American delegates met in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union. African Americans were excluded from existing labor unions, such as when white workers formed the National Labor Union (NLU). In 1869 several black delegates were invited to the annual meeting of the NLU, where Isaac Myers, a prominent organizer of African-American laborers, spoke eloquently for solidarity, saying that white and black workers ought to organize together for higher wages and a comfortable standard of living. However, the white unions refused to allow African Americans to join their ranks. In response, Myers met with other African-American laborers to form what became the Colored National Labor Union. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU's founding president; Frederick Douglass became president in 1872 - 1869
The Washington Monument is completed in Washington, D.C. On the interior of the monument are 193 commemorative stones, donated by numerous governments and organizations from all over the world; one of them is from the Int’l Typographical Union, founded in 1852. In 1986 the ITU merged into the Communications Workers of America - 1884
A total of 361 coal miners die at Monongah, W.Va., in nation's worst mining disaster - 1907
United Mine Workers begin what is to become a 110-day national coal strike - 1977
Labor history courtesy Union Communication Services